Hiring: Food Hub Operations Manager – Food Connects
Food Hub Operations Manager
Food Connects is seeking a Food Hub Operations Manager to oversee the operations of the Food Connects Food Hub, combining day-to-day operations and longer-term planning to ensure the safe, timely, and undamaged flow of Food Hub products. This person will employ their technical skills, industry knowledge, and attention to detail to lead the Operations Team. This is a full-time, exempt, salaried position with supervisory responsibilities.
Position Title: Food Hub Operations Manager
Supervisor: Food Hub Director
Employee Status: Full-Time, Exempt, Salaried
We value diversity in all forms and strive to have our employment practices reflect that. We are an equal opportunity workplace and will not discriminate based on disability or other legally protected categories. If an employee has a disability that makes it difficult to perform their job duties, they are encouraged to notify us to engage in a discussion about reasonable accommodations.
About Food Connects
Food Connects is a dynamic and quickly growing nonprofit organization based in Brattleboro, VT that delivers regionally produced food and educational and consulting services aimed at transforming regional food systems. Founded in 2013, Food Connects (FC) is a catalyst for food systems change by connecting the next generation with their food, regional farmers with new markets, and school chefs with regional food.
The Food Connects Food Hub delivers source-identified, regional food from over 125 farms and value-added vendors to over 280 wholesale customers in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Western Massachusetts. Currently, we have vehicles on the road for pickups and deliveries 5 days per week. The Food Hub is experiencing rapid growth and will expand operations, infrastructure, and delivery schedule over the coming year.
The Food Hub Operations Manager is a high energy, detail oriented position responsible for leading and overseeing the operations of the Food Connects Food Hub, combining day-to-day operations and longer-term planning to ensure the safe, timely, and undamaged flow of Food Hub products. The Operations Manager is hands-on and able to support all aspects of Food Hub Operations and other team members as needed. The Operations Manager reports to the Food Hub Director and supervises the Operations Coordinator and a team of part-time Drivers while working in close partnership with the rest of the Food Hub Operations Team.
- Forward Thinking: The ability to anticipate the implications and consequences of situations and take appropriate action to be prepared for possible contingencies.
- Attention to Communication: The ability to ensure that information is passed on to others who should be kept informed.
- Task Management: Can prioritize tasks and work toward their completion through tracking details and progress and, when needed, toggling between different projects or assignments.
- Time Management: Can organize time for optimum efficacy with regard to deadlines, collaboration, competing priorities, and personal work style.
- Fostering Teamwork: As a team member, the ability and desire to work cooperatively with others on a team.
- Analytical Thinking: The ability to tackle a problem by using a logical, systematic, sequential approach.
Primary Duties and Responsibilities
Food Hub Operations
- Primary point of contact for long-term operational projects and route planning, and day-to-day distribution logistics, including weekly routing schedules.
- Primary point of contact for contracted third-party-freight logistics, including scheduling, pricing, and distribution paperwork for all outbound freight.
- Proactively assess operational and routing efficiencies and propose areas of strategic development and continuous improvement.
- Creatively problem solve as daily operational needs evolve, calmly adapting to, and solving for, unexpected issues.
- Assist with the development and implementation of operational systems, policies, and standard operating procedures (SOPs).
- Assist in keeping accurate operations records through various tracking mechanisms and reporting functions.
- Assist with coordination and placing required administrative and operations purchases.
- Coordinate directly with producers and customers as needed to communicate ETAs and location instructions.
- Communicate directly with drivers on the road regarding routes and orders, and troubleshoot any route issues as they arise.
- Communicate with the Sales and Procurement teams on order changes, deliveries, and distribution errors as they occur.
- Coordinate with the Fleet & Facilities Specialist to schedule vehicle maintenance & inspections into operations schedule.
- Greet and assist visitors to the Food Hub, including producers, customers, drivers, and service personnel.
Food Hub Staff Supervision
- Supervise Operations Coordinator and team of part-time Drivers.
- Manage schedules, maintain daily communications, and troubleshoot challenges.
- Coach, counsel, and offer direct feedback to ensure that all supervisees accomplish job responsibilities and results.
- Manage regular one-on-one check-ins with supervisees to seek and provide proactive and constructive feedback for mutual improvement and the general betterment of the Food Hub.
- Assist with recruiting, hiring, and training.
Food Hub Regulatory Compliance
- Assist with third-party food safety certification, ensuring food safety compliance and adherence to regulatory guidelines, while supporting smooth daily operations.
- Coordinate with Warehouse Team to manage facility set up and warehouse maintenance programs in compliance with food safety regulations, including sanitation programs.
- Perform, monitor, track, and record food safety-related processes.
Food Hub Growth & Business Development
- Identify ways to improve the Food Hub, and its distribution operations in particular. Help put those strategies into action.
- Coordinate with the Food Hub Director and Sales & Procurement teams to develop new routes.
- Collaborate with Food Hub Team on projects to improve logistics, accounting, data management, software, and distribution systems as needed.
- Assist Food Hub Director with meetings and events as needed.
- Represent Food Connects in opportunities for Food Hub education and outreach.
- Maintain a safe and healthy work environment by establishing and enforcing safety standards and adhering to legal regulations.
- Support Sales and Procurement team members with special projects and problem-solving as needed.
- Fill in for other staff when needed.
- Attend regular one-on-one check-ins with the FH Director to seek and provide proactive and constructive feedback for mutual improvement and the general betterment of the Food Hub.
- Engage in annual self-review.
- Participate in annual peer-review processes as required.
- Assist with training new employees, as needed.
- Occasional paid off-hours meetings and events (with plenty of advance notice).
- Other duties as needed to assist the Food Hub in fulfilling its mission.
Working Conditions & Physical Demands
Food Connects will make reasonable accommodations to enable individuals to perform the essential functions of their work to the degree we can do so.
In general, this position is expected to work a 40 hour work week, although some weeks, especially during the months of July-November, may require additional hours. The ideal candidate has availability during the hours below, but there may be flexibility for the right candidate.
Weds: 8:30AM-5:00PM (possibly earlier seasonally)
The Operations Manager will provide remote support for drivers on the route during off-hours shifts (mainly Tuesday and Thursday evenings) and will coordinate coverage responsibilities between the Food Hub Director and Operations Coordinator as needed.
- The position is based in the Food Connects Food Hub facility in Brattleboro, VT.
- As a hands-on position, this role will require in-office work, with minimal opportunities to work remotely.
- Some federal holidays may require at least part-time work. Adequate advanced notice will be provided.
Physical Demands – Required:
- This position entails extensive use of a desktop or laptop computer, sitting or standing at a desk workstation.
Physical Demands – Preferred for Assisting Other Departments (Not Required):
- Ability to repeatedly lift and move products (up to 50 lbs) as needed.
- Ability to operate pallet jacks and lift trucks in the warehouse, as needed.
- Ability and willingness to drive delivery vans and trucks, as needed.
- Ability to drive continuously for a full workday.
- Ability to work and drive in variant weather conditions.
- 1 to 2 years of management experience in one or more of the following types of roles. Some professional experience in the food industry is strongly preferred.
- Project management
- Farming or food production
- Other applicable lived experience
- Demonstrated supervisory experience.
- Strong technical skills with computers, spreadsheets, emails, and digital business management tools such as: G-suite, Excel, Slack, Asana, and customer relationship management (CRM) software.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills: in person, over the phone, by email, and text.
- Excellent customer service skills.
- Strong organizational skills and natural proclivity for keeping detailed records.
- Enthusiastic ability to work in a dynamic, fast-paced environment.
- Comfortable with change and growth in an evolving business; creative problem solver and ability to jump in where needed to optimize operations.
- Helpful, calm, professional presence.
- Reliable transportation for getting to headquarters in Brattleboro, VT.
- Reliable cell phone with data plan.
- Valid drivers license.
- At least 3 professional references.
- Experience with E-commerce and enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for food sales and distribution.
- Existing relationships with/knowledge of food producers in VT, NH, MA and the NE region.
- General knowledge of the sustainable food and agriculture sector.
- General knowledge and relationships with regional logistics and freight providers.
- Experience in small business management and/or business development, especially in the food sector.
- Familiarity with the geographical area of our delivery services (Vermont, Southern NH, and Western Massachusetts, primarily).
- Knowledge of basic food safety regulations.
- Food safety training.
- This is a full-time, exempt position, expected 40 hour/week.
- Salary, beginning at $53,000 annually. Negotiable depending on experience.
- The following benefits are offered after a 90-day introductory period:
- 2% employer retirement contribution, no employee contribution required.
- 15% employee discount on food purchases.
- Access to vision and dental insurance
- Life insurance
- Short-term disability insurance
- Paid time off: vacation, sick, personal, and holiday leave